Resources for PPD

I’ve put a number of links to articles, podcasts, websites, and blogs, and mentioned some books in my PPD posts, but I wanted to put them all together in one post, too. These are all things that have helped me with PPD, but again, they may or may not be helpful to others! Also, while online resources are useful, they are no substitute for your midwife/doctor, husband, and church (or the physical helps like clean eating, sleep, supplements, and exercise).

If you need immediate help and are having thoughts of harm to yourself or your baby, stop reading and call the suicide prevention hotline NOW. 1-800-273-8255.

online
Postpartum Progress (this website, postpartum progress, is probably the most helpful diagnostic website I have found. I don’t agree with all their “answers” but diagnostically it’s amazing)
Symptom List for PPD (not exhaustive but the most exhaustive one I’ve found)
The difference between PPD & new mom stress
Risk factors: 1 & 2.
6 Stages of PPD (this is so helpful to me a few months out when it feels like PPD is gone but I’m still not healed yet. The “PTSD” stage is not something I would necessarily call PTSD yet that seems like the best label for it)
The Tunnel of Depression (Jasmine Holmes – the most scripturally grounded “what it feels like”)
Anxiety: My Thorn in the Flesh (a good summary of the practical helps you can take, as well as some righting of myths about anxiety that could also be applied to depression)
How to Fight for Faith in the Dark (Desiring God)
Sleep, Motherhood, & PPD (includes symptom list + some tips and ideas)
Some Thoughts on PPD (my post)
Renewing your mind in the midst of PPD (my post)
To Moms of One or Two Children (I don’t love this title, but I go back to this post again and again. Just solid, down to earth advice about life with kids, that I have always found especially encouraging with PPD)
No or Not Yet (for when God doesn’t answer your prayers the way you want Him to)
Dealing with guilt in PPD: My post & What is Well Placed Shame (Desiring God)
Why I’m not Anxious about PPD (written before Ellie’s birth… I am not yet back to this place after Ellie’s birth)
What I want my Daughters to Know about PPD (my post)
When the Bough Breaks (documentary, also available on Netflix. Watch with caution if you have PPD. I think this is mostly helpful for people who have no clue how serious PPD can be).

for support teams
How to Love a Depressed Wife (Desiring God)
How to Help Someone with PPD (my post)
9 Ideas to Support Someone with PPD

sermons
Spiritual Depression (Jonah & Elijah)
A Curse for Us: the Death of Christ (thoughts on being separated from God)
The Curse on Women (MacArthur – the realities of life as a childbearing woman in a fallen world!)
Podcast: Gospel hope for PPD

books
Hind’s Feet on High Places (Hannah Hurnard)
Spurgeon’s Sorrows (Eswine)
A Sacred Sorrow (Card)
When Darkness Will Not Lift (Piper)
The Cup & the Glory (Harris; I have not read this but it’s been highly recommended to me)
Dealing with Depression (Collins)

scriptures
Job – letting it happen because He knows we will come out stronger
Job 38:17 – I have not seen the deep darkness, even in PPD, but GOD HAS
Psalms generally – in everything David suffered, God was always faithful in the end.
Psalm 13, 31 – times of waiting before He answers our cry = normal
Psalm 27 – the prayer for help, and an answer, and then WAIT.
Ps 56:8
Ps 139:11-12
Is 50:10
Ezekiel 2:9-3:3
Jeremiah 20:7-18
Lamentations 3
Ecclesiastes – everything beautiful in its time… not my time, His.
Habbakuk
Micah 7:8-9
Matt 5:4
Lazarus (Jesus waiting to come)
Jesus calming the storm – He was sleeping.
Christ choosing to go forward from Gethsemene to feel the darkness of His hidden face and worse, His wrath.
1 Corinthians 2:9
2 Tim 1:7
Hebrews 12
1 John 3:8

Songs/Poems
God will lift up your head – Gerhart
I have a Shelter in the Storm (Sovereign Grace)
Valley Song (Jars of Clay)
Psalm 23 songs
Though He Slay Me (Shane & Shane)
Satisfied in You (Sing Team)
In Emmanuel’s Land
Newton, “I asked the Lord that I might grow”
Be Still My Soul
It is Well With my Soul
Day by Day
Jesus of the Scars
Before the Throne
In Christ Alone

Some things to remember:

“God careth for you with such special care that he has even numbered the very hairs on your head and put your tears in His bottle. You may therefore rest assured that even those experiences which are causing you so much sorrow are all in accordance with His eternal counsel and decree.”
–Spurgeon

From Spurgeon’s Sorrows:
“Grief is depression in proportion to circumstance; depression is grief out of proportion to circumstance.”
“Depression can so vandalize our joy and sense of God that no promise of His can comfort us in the moment, no matter how true or kindly spoken.”
“The sun may not rise for a few hours yet. But here amid the waiting hours, the sorrowing have a savior.”
“No matter how far you fall in your depression, the everlasting arms shall be lower than you are.”
“Hope demolished can become hope rebuilt, if it is realistic and rooted, not just in the cross and empty tomb but also in the garden and the sweat-like blood.”
“I am certain that I have seen more in the dark than ever I saw in the light, – more stars, most certainly, – more things in heaven if fewer things on earth.”

The valley of the shadow of death is not our final destination – Michael Jinkins

Backyard: late June

6 June 2
The fuschias are dying but the butterflies and hummingbirds still love them.

12 June backyard 1
sweet peas

12 June backyard 2
vegetable garden! We’ve harvested some greens to put in salads.

12 June backyard 3

12 June backyard 5
planting sunflower starts. If we plant directly in the soil the squirrels dig up the seeds.

12 June backyard 7
No idea if the squirrels are going to let us have any of these to eat but I sure hope they do!

12 June backyard 9
peonies grow well here! We have enjoyed cutting them for ourselves and others and haven’t felt bad about that because of how big and heavy they get.

12 June backyard 11
my favorite flowers are asymmetrical ones like columbine and fuschia, but peonies are beautiful too.

12 June backyard 12
Ezra fixed the bird house.

12 June backyard 15
jars to protect plants and help them stay warm

21 June

26 June Simon the Baby bunny
The sunflower-eating culprit.

June

Writing this post made me realize how full June was! It was mostly full of just living, though, and was very enjoyable, the calm before all our summer travels!

2 June curry and garden salad 1
not being on 21DSD meant so much yummy food.

3 June curry pan 3
set aside some curry for curry pan.

3 June curry pan 5
someone at a garage sale was desperately trying to get rid of all this stoneware and gave it to us free. Ezra felt bad telling them we didn’t need it all so we have since given some of it away.

6 June picnic 3
she found my Tintin books and will read them for hours.

7 June prep for Penni s class
a highlight of the month was playing oboe for a friend’s music appreciation class and accompanying her on piano for a Vivaldi Cello sonata. It wasn’t really a performance but I haven’t done anything performance-like since last April so it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the mental challenge of performing again, and had fun trying to think of how to make oboe interesting to middle schoolers.

13 June Disc Golf Date Night 1
testing out Dave’s Killer Bagels (stick with the bread), and happiness that my small cast iron skillet is the perfect size for eggs in bagels.

13 June Disc Golf Date Night 2
date night success! The weather held and we got to play 9 holes of disc golf (Ezra beat me by a lot) and have a picnic.

13 June sunset 2
sunsets here are so colorful.

18 June Kenneally Graduation 1
we’d had a whirlwind trip down to Ezra’s family’s the week before, but the girls and I made the trip down to celebrate my cousins’ graduation on Father’s Day (the morning after Ezra & S went to a daddy daughter dance. She still talks about it!). They did so well in the car!

18 June Kenneally Graduation 2
So proud of her!

20 June 2
She hates the wind, and chooses the back of the stroller to avoid it (and to avoid being buckled).

21 June summer 1
we had corn on the cob and made cornhusk dolls.

21 June summer 2
our overgrown peony plants needed trimming.

22 June summer 1
Ezra found some early blackberries on his way back from work

22 June summer 2
let my bread rise in the sun!

22 June summer 5
summer in a crust

24 June Ezra birthday 6
we celebrated Ezra’s birthday

24 June Ezra birthday 7
He asked for shwarma and falafel

25 June 1
At Bible study we were talking about which way the TP should go… and one woman said “it goes UNDER because then your five year old won’t spin it out!” Well… our 9 month old pulls it I guess (and bites it).

26 June Simon the Baby bunny
Our “pet,” Simon the Baby Bunny. He has been eating our sunflowers.

26 June 1
She adores our field guide and we are always looking things up or she will look through it and ask what things are.

29 June haircut and paletas 8
we decided it was time to cut her hair… with the weather warming up it was getting so tangled and matted. This is the before!

29 June haircut and paletas 15
Showing off her paleta – we’ve been reading about them in a book and she is obsessed.

30 June hair cut 3
I said I wouldn’t get emotional but that was a lie.

30 June pizza date night 5
in-house date afternoon: a late lunch of pizza, since the first time we’d used our pizza stones I had really struggled with the process so we did it together to perfect our technique.

Hymns of the month// brushing up on A Mighty Fortress, and learning The Love of God.

favorite recipes// Moroccan chicken with preserved lemons (I had some preserved lemons left from a Jerusalem recipe and this turned up for using them up!) // Japanese curry bread (the ultimate comfort food) // stuffed zucchini – kousa mahshi // mezze cake – a fun idea, though we prefer it all separate // frozen whipped jello (a favorite warm weather treat) // vegetarian shepherd’s pie // flourless chocolate protein waffles // cheesy garlic spaghetti squash with herbs // flourless chocolate mug cake // lasagna stuffed burritos (a fun novelty for once, though we said we’d prefer one or the other) // cheese fondue (added more garlic) // this dried out quickly but was otherwise a tasty plantain chocolate cake. This one was moister but otherwise not great so I may try to combine the two // sweet potato cakes // batbout – stovetop pita bread // German onion pie (YUM) // fragrant roasted zucchini // summer vegetable chili // pumpkin cake with butterscotch chips (made for Ezra’s birthday) // learned how to make hollandaise sauce // yummy cream cheese frosting (naturally sweetened. I added a couple tablespoons of milk) // biscuit tricks // Indian omelet // bacon lime sweet potato salad // carrot & date muffins (date-sweetened) // not great as cake but delicious as banana muffins (not enough “crumb” to smash) // pizza sauce //

best of online//  Righteous anger: Egypt’s Christians respond to ISIS // free date night ideas – some really cheesy, others that have made it on our list! // zero-waste produce storage (inspiring) // Caesar, Uncle Sam, and Servants of God // the week my tears ran out //homemade paint // tragedy and injustice and Philando Castille // recalibrating – I love her blog and her first podcast episode & this post really resonated with me and where I’m at right now and why I blog // Matisyahu – One Day // all children are different – focus on the heart // Cling to Christ (looking at Jacob wrestling with God) // Myth of Maternal Bliss // Beginner’s Guide to Night Sky Photography // 40 must-see photos from the past // 40 maps that help explain the Middle East // 15 Things I want to tell my third culture kids // gorgeous photos //

thinking about// industrious vs life-giving home // expecting kids to sin and need to be parented // laughing at the future comes via a CHOICE of choosing to look at God and not the waves of what is/has been/could be //

what brings joy//
The Munchkins// Ellie is cruising, clapping, and dancing. S talks more and more “properly” every day and people are her caffeine.

2017 Second Quarter: What We Read

April

Skimmed
Give them Grace Elyse Fitzpatrick
I just skimmed this one because there are SO many parenting books and I had heard so much about this one from people that both like and don’t like it so I wanted to get a feel for it myself before deciding if I wanted to read it more or not. There were some very helpful parts, but there is a fair amount of ambiguity where you can read in certain things depending on where you are coming from that could lead to permissiveness. Overall, though, I would say that their main message isn’t giving them grace as in letting off the hook or not giving law, but grace as in offering them gospel when they fail to obey.
We haven’t finished it yet, but I would recommend Paul Tripp’s “Parenting” book over Give them Grace since I feel like it says a lot of the same things but more succinctly and without the ambiguity.

Give Your Child the World
This isn’t really one to sit down and read fully, but I did get some good ideas. I wrote down a fair number of books from the book lists to check out of the library, but I was expecting less book list and more practical on ideas for helping your kids have a global perspective. That may just be because most of the practical things she mentioned are common sense to me from the way we were raised. Not one I think I would own, but I would get it from the library in the future to get more ideas.

Hints on Child Training Turnbull
This is an often recommended book in Charlotte Mason books. There was a lot of helpful stuff in it, but I think you’d be better off reading “For the Children’s Sake” by Susan Schaeffer McCaulay since it has similar philosophy but doesn’t feel as Victorian/focused on outward behavior and politeness. I feel like that’s a weakness in the Charlotte Mason stuff in general – it talks so much about character but often feels moralistic.
Most helpful to me were reminders on whole person, individuality, not repressing polite questioning, and directing, not breaking, the will of the child, as well as teaching them self-denial and self control.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner (and a few others, Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Hungry Planet

Always Ready (Bahnsen)
Not what I was expecting… I walked away being convinced that presuppositional apologetics is the way to go but not really knowing how to do it.

The Singer, The Song, and The Finale (Calvin Miller)
These are favorites of mine and I read them aloud to Ezra in the car.

Missional Motherhood (Furman)
I picked up some helpful tidbits from this book, but overall ended up skimming a fair bit. It would probably be more helpful to someone who hasn’t read and studied a lot about biblical womanhood.

Spurgeon’s Sorrows (Eswine)
Mentioned this book before, but I can’t recommend it enough to anyone in the midst of depression, counseling depression, supporting someone with depression, or just curious about it and wanting to know more.

The Land I Lost
Ezra remembered reading this as a kid and it was a nice break from heavier reading.

May

The Genius of Ancient Man
Fascinating!

Messy Grace (Kaltenbach)
Another one that I highly recommend. Kaltenbach was raised by LGBT parents and has solid insights in how to show grace and love to the LGBT community without compromising conviction.

Better Late than Early
I ended up skimming most of this one. The first half is explaining why it’s better to start education later than earlier, including some facts like kids being far sighted until 7 or 8 and that making learning to read more difficult and even detrimental to eye health. The second half is some ideas of what to be doing until formal schooling. A lot of it was common sense and long winded.

Holy Labor (Aubri Smith)
A review of this is coming in a separate post!

None Like Him (Jen Wilkin)
SO convicting, one I will read again in the future! It made me realize how often I try to be God in how I act and live, how much I fail at trying to be God, and how great He is.

June
How to Read Literature Like a Professor
I was really disappointed by this book. The writing style was too casual (almost blog-style), a lot of the examples were PG-13+ and from literature I had never heard of, and it was SO repetitive.

Music Through the Eyes of Faith Harold Best
Really really good. Probably the first thing I’ve read that discusses truth and beauty and worship and what kinds of music are acceptable for the Christian in a way that goes beyond “we shouldn’t listen to rock because it has bad associations,” etc. Some of his comments were a little Spurgeon-esque in the sense of “I see how you got there, but I don’t really know if that’s what the text means, but I guess it could.” But it was never to a degree that I felt extrapolated too much from the text. Highly recommended!

A Time of Gifts
If a highschool dropout traveled the world today and wrote about it… it would be a far cry from this book, about Patrick Leigh Fermor’s travels (mostly on foot) from Holland to Constantinople. It made me feel SO uneducated – his writing is so rich with description (it had to be; he didn’t have a camera to remember things by!), full of phrases in many languages, literary references, historical knowledge and references… not as light of a read as I had been looking for, but I really enjoyed it and do plan on reading the second part sometime.

in the middle of Parenting (Tripp), The Hidden Smile of God (Piper), 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Reinke)

Children’s Books we enjoyed
Balloons Over Broadway about Tony Sarg and the story behind the Macy’s Day Parade!
One Day, One World
The Ology Machowski
Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping S loved this more than us. 😉
Swan a beautiful, poetic book about Anna Pavlova
Where Did My Clothes Come From? a bit above S’s level right now but she would look at it and on the page about rubber say “That’s my rain boots!”
How to make an Apple Pie and See the World
anything by Ezra Jack Keats (especially the Snowy Day and Clementina’s Cactus)
Compost Stew
Pinkerton
My First Day
St Patrick (Tomie De Paola) – the best one we’ve found on St. Patrick’s day that our library has
In the Sea
(David Eliott, Holly Meade)
Curious George & the Alphabet
Children Just Like Me

National Geographic Children’s Atlas
Abuela (I am trying to learn some Spanish with the girls – this one had some Spanish phrases thrown in with mostly English)
The Night Gardener (Fan)
What Can You Do with a Paleta? (another bilingual one! Also “What Can you do with a Rebozo?”)
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt (Messner)

Fitness, Pinterest, & Postpartum Body Image

After S, I lost all the baby weight and then some by about 4 months postpartum, mostly thanks to her food sensitivities. But then I gained some of it back and my weight would fluctuate up and down until I got pregnant with Ellie.
Almost the same thing has happened this time, but it’s been more of a struggle for me this time than last time, both to lose the weight and in how I think about myself.
In addition, other healing has been slower this time around, mostly with diastasis recti. After S I had a teeny one that resolved itself just by being careful for a few months. This time, my midwife said I had a small one, so I checked it myself and it was about 2 fingers and weak but not too deep. By the time we moved it seemed more normal, so I stopped being very careful, which was a horrible idea 2.5 months postpartum while carrying and wearing a baby, a toddler, and lots of stuff, and either I hadn’t been measuring it well or it re-opened to about 3 fingers. It was hard to come to terms with that, both it reopening and being there in the first place, since I had been so careful while I was pregnant. I am still glad I was careful while pregnant because not only could it have been worse, but I was still fairly connected to my core and pelvic floor so that has made it all a little easier.

I’ve slowly been working on closing it again and building strength for more intense exercise with Fit2B (in large part thanks to my sister Cait in a number of ways!), and while my gap isn’t totally closed again I still wanted to write some about it because it has been SO good for me, not just physically, but in how I view my body. I didn’t realize some of the struggles I was having until I started Fit2B and kept hearing Beth talk about being thankful for what my body has done (not bashing it in my thoughts while trying to “get it back”) and how it has been made and used for its purpose. For me that’s also been paired with being surrounded by more older women than I have been for a long time, and I have been challenged just by watching them to not be so concerned with clothes and fitness and all the latest social media fads (things that I never would have thought I was swayed by until I was surrounded by people who aren’t!). And last year I heard a lot of women talk about poor examples their mothers set for them with food and exercise and body image and am so thankful for my mother’s GOOD example of health and moderation, something I pray I will pass on to my girls even as it takes so much self-discipline for me – to eat healthily but not over analyze, to exercise but not obsess, to heal my core but not make it about looking a certain way, to dress in a way that honors God and is respectful to others (right now I don’t love a lot of my clothes, but they’re just that: clothes. If they fit, if they’re cotton, if they’re modest… right now, they stay. I could buy others, but I feel like with the world the way it is that money should go elsewhere, instead of me having a shirt that’s a little more flattering than the old one).

I still have a long way to go, physically (my gap is still about 1.5-2 fingers and deeper than it should be, and I would like to run again but want to gain some more core strength first), but even more to renew my mind to be content with my body the way it is (how it looks & what it can do), eating simple food (read: staying off Pinterest), making do with what we have (not the latest mama/baby gadget), not being so concerned with how so and so disciplines their kids and what they think of me – just generally not being so self-conscious and focused on things that will pass away.
Because as long as the days are right now and as much of a struggle as it is to say no to cravings, this season of littles is going to pass away, this body is going to just deteriorate more, and what’s left is their souls and my soul and that’s where my energy should be going.
Pray for me to be growing in that!

A couple links that have been helpful to me:
Dear Postpartum Mama, You are Beautiful
129 Times to Turn on your Transverse Abs
10 Times to Align
Bare Naked Gratitude
5 Mom Posture Tips
a few more DR links here
This recent podcast from Risen Motherhood has some good thoughts on who you hang out with!

Happy Birthday, Ezra

Ezra’s birthday is coming up and I wanted to give him his own post… not to highlight milestones like I do with the girls but because I want to publically praise God for him and share some of the ways he supports, challenges, and encourages me.

One of the things I continue to be amazed at is how he has been just what I have needed in the craziness of the last three years with all the moves, changes, and PPD, and the specific needs and challenges that has brought and the girls have. I honestly don’t know where I would be without him – especially with PPD he has been one of the clearest ways I see God’s help and grace, in the way he has supported me physically (taking the girls night or day, doing dishes, cooking dinner, helping me think through things to de-stress and calm down) and spiritually (praying with and for me, reminding me of scripture and hymns, seeking counsel with and for me, offering me hope). He’s put up with a lot of moodiness from me in the last year and is so gentle and gracious about it.

He watches the girls so I can do things like go to ladies’ Bible study and play oboe for my friend’s music appreciation class (and once they were on the same day; I felt like I had the day off!).

He always has solid, balanced, biblical wisdom for me and others, which I especially need as it’s so easy for me to be black-and-white and rule-oriented instead of being gracious and seeing what the Bible puts forward as nonnegotiable and in what areas we have Christian liberty.

His devotional life  – watching and listening to him pray has been a challenge to me to not let my prayer and Bible reading become just a check in the box.

His diligence in preparing for seminary – studying Greek and some counseling in his spare time to not be overwhelmed when he officially starts, and his making our family a priority as we look ahead to a different lifestyle when he goes back to school. And on top of that, all the yard work and gardening he does!

The way he shepherds our family, teaching and explaining scripture to S as well as doing the same for lifeskills, and the way he plays with the girls – I love hearing them laugh and shriek with him. They both adore him and I love to see that. And for our recently-begun weekly prayer times just the two of us.

Ezra, I’m so thankful for you and I’m glad we get to celebrate you together this year!

 

Fruit Sweetened Mint Chocolate Milkshake

I heard about Starbucks’ Midnight Mint Frappuchino during my 21 Day Sugar Detox. It sounded so good (mint chocolate is my favorite flavor of almost anything) and wanted to try it, but looking at the calendar couldn’t find a place I could really fit it in with my new one big treat a month rule, because of some better opportunities like Salt & Straw in June and Tillamook in July… plus it’s expensive and unhealthy and I don’t even like coffee (but I still reaaally wanted it!).
During my dairy reintroduction I had thawed some cream cheese, which doesn’t freeze well, and knew it had to be used in a smoothie/milkshake, so decided to attempt something mint chocolatey to satisfy my Midnight Mint craving.
And it worked! I don’t have a photo for this recipe because I really don’t know how to take good food photos in general but even less of drinks, but here’s the recipe and I know I’ll be making it again!

Fruit Sweetened Mint Chocolate Milkshake
serves 2-3

1 c milk of your choice (since I was reintroducing dairy, I used whole cow’s milk, but almond or coconut milk should work too, it just might be less rich and creamy)
4 oz cream cheese (ricotta or cottage cheese would work as well, or a mild plain yogurt. If you can’t do dairy, try coconut or cashew cream)
2 frozen bananas
1/2 c frozen spinach
1/4 tsp mint extract
splash of vanilla extract (it was probably about 1/2 tsp)
1/2 c cocoa
3 ice cubes (optional, I added these because it wasn’t quite cold enough)
3 Tbsp collagen (optional)

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Then I ended up sticking it in the freezer in a stainless steel cup for about an hour because it was part of my lunch but S’s was for later and I wanted to avoid a meltdown. So when I pulled it out the top and sides were starting to freeze and that just made it all the more perfect.

Hidden veggies, no sweetener, and still rich mint chocolatey goodness. I really had to exercise self-control to not devour S’s while she was napping…